As we are local, going to “The Burt” is a no brainer. The event still just seems to get bigger every year. It’s a real boost to the Southland economy and there are very few problems.
A well known NZ scooterist usually races at the Burt – 2016 event and has done so, for a while now, with no real competition. I had never been around Teretonga before, but thought “how hard can it be?”
The E Hayes & Sons Teretonga Sprint Races, are just one of the events that scooters can enter in. There isn’t a class just for scooters at the Burt and the best class to enter in, at this time, is the pre 63 girder fork.
Entering the competition, online, is reasonably straight forward but not the cheapest depending on the number of events you enter. You normally have 2-3 months available to register for an event before the registrations close, ready for racing in February. If you don’t have a newish helmet (which they check the serial number on) with D ring fasteners or a full leather race suit and boots, then you may not be able to race. A two piece leather jacket and trousers, that could be zipped around the waist, so they wouldn’t come apart, if you came off, was enough for me this year.
You could be up against anything from a Harley-Davidson WLA 750 to a Velocette KTT 350 or an Ariel Red Hunter 500. All of the bikes are older but have a lot more power, more ground clearance, bigger wheels and generally, get around the track, about 30 seconds faster than most scooters. To be fair this class is probably the slowest in the sprint race event and the organizers don’t really have a class for small engine scooters so in some ways it is a safer class.
However at the end of the day, competitors are racing for points and if you are thinking about bringing a scooter to this event – be careful out there. Trying to get around that track at a reasonable speed, then getting passed by bikes you don’t hear coming, can be a little unsettling. This is quite a fast circuit, so if racing a scooter you may need to have your tuning spot on for WOT.
First time/slower riders need to wear high viz vests. These were supplied by the SMCC. There are a lot of hard working volunteers out there trying to make your experience as good as it can be and the riders meetings are informative and must be attended. The marshalls were helpful and happy to answer questions.
I had a 1961 Sportique in mind for this event but had to change to another bike after some serious rust issues in the Sportique frame presented themselves. The trusty old Bajaj was pressed into service with new tubeless rims and tyres, racing seat and a Quattrini powerplant.
If racing something slow, with poor brakes and handling is you’re bag, then bring your scooter down to the next Burt.